Apple Share

Cart of Red Delicious apples harvested Sept. 30, 2019.

(Editor’s Note: This year I donated 350 pounds of Red Delicious apples to Local Harvest CSA for distribution in member shares. Here’s the note I wrote for weekly newsletter).

The apples in your share are Red Delicious variety grown from a tree planted on Earth Day 1995 by Paul Deaton in Big Grove Township.

Back yard apples are maligned for a couple of unjust reasons.

First, the State of Washington about ruined the Red Delicious, which was first discovered in Iowa, where it was called the Hawkeye by some. Growers in Washington decided this apple was the way to go because of its marketability. They went all in and devised techniques that took the flavor right out of the fruit, including picking before they were ripe, then “ripening” them in a chamber of ethylene gas before shipping. Applying science to the Red Delicious about ruined it and gave it a bad name.

Second, backyard apples have developed a number of “reasons” why people don’t want to cultivate them. If someone has an apple tree they inherited, they may make up a hundred excuses not to prune and take care of it. While these apples aren’t perfect, get a knife out, cut off the bad spots, and they make good eating if fully ripe. They make other fall apple things like crisps, cobblers, sauce, butter and dried apples.

Let’s face it, when Johnny Appleseed, born in 1774, came across the country he had one thing in mind as he planted apples by seed: enabling future settlers to make hard cider. Although the technique is making a comeback, many city-dwellers have forgotten that piece of apple lore. As long as the apple isn’t rotten, it can go into cider (press or many use a juicer for small batches) from which one can make vinegar, sweet cider or hard cider. If one is concerned about bacteria, get your cooking thermometer out and heat the cider thoroughly to about 165 degrees for ten seconds. It will kill the bad bugs and leave most of the flavor.

Hope you enjoy them!

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3 Responses to Apple Share

  1. Steve Hanken says:

    Because cider apples fell out of favor and everyone expects an apple to be an eating apple, many great varieties of storing and cider apples were lost in that first bite of a wayward tree standing in a fence row that became instant firewood as a result of that first taste! There is an apple that is such a great storing apple it is called the “potato” of apples and will store for up to two years before it attains it’s peak ripeness. You are absolutely right about the original “Hawkeye” and I believe it was sold to a grower in Missouri who sold it to the growers in Washington State. When he first bought the apple he took one bite and the first words out of his mouth became the new name, “Delicious!” Then came the marketing “genius” of corporate farming that has nearly destroyed the name of what was an excellent eating apple. It should be brought back under it’s original name “Hawkeye” and marketed as such without all the hoopla of manipulation and marketing, let it stand on its own merits and see how it soon will become the “Honeycrisp” of its new beginning!

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  2. Paul Deaton says:

    Stark Brothers secured the original Hawkeye. I bought my Red Delicious cultivars from them and planted them on Earth Day 1995. The investment worked out as I’ve harvested thousands of pounds of the fruit.

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  3. Very interesting! Growing our own food is so satisfying.

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